Ben Affleck is set to bring the biggest corruption scandal in professional sports history to the big screen.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has won an eight-day bidding war for Houses of Deceit, a forthcoming book by Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative reporter Ken Bensinger that examines the role of American FIFA executive Chuck Blazer in the corruption scandal that rocked the international soccer organization.
Affleck is set to produce alongside friend and frequent collaborator Matt Damon under their Pearl Street Films banner, reports THR. Entertainment 360’s Guymon Casady and Darin Friedman are also attached as producers.
Warrior director Gavin O’Connor is signed up direct the project, while Anthony Tambakis will pen the script. O’Connor recently wrapped production on the Affleck-fronted thriller The Accountant for Warner Bros.
Houses of Deceit, based on a 2014 Buzzfeed article by Bensinger, tells the story of FIFA executive Chuck Blazer, who earned the nickname “Mr. Ten Percent” for taking hefty commissions from deals made through the international soccer outfit. In roughly two decades, Blazer went from being an out-of-work father struggling with debt to a high-powered, globe-trotting executive worth over $20 million.
In November 2013, Blazer pleaded guilty to 10 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, and tax evasion. He was ordered to pay back $1.9 million in World Cup kickback and bribery-related schemes and was also ordered to pay back taxes on $11 million earned between 2005 and 2010.
According to the New York Times, Blazer’s plea deal revealed that the executive was secretly assisting federal investigators and prosecutors for nearly two years before his guilty plea. Blazer reportedly faces up to 10 years in prison for failing to report foreign bank accounts and an additional five years for tax evasion.
Kensinger’s book hasn’t even been published yet; publishing powerhouse Simon & Schuster reportedly won their own bidding war against seven other interested parties last week, and the book will hit shelves in 2017.
FIFA recently produced their own film about the history of the organization, United Passions, starring Tim Roth as FIFA president Sepp Blatter. But the film was released as the massive corruption scandal had completely engulfed the organization, and the $30 million film earned an astonishingly dismal $607 in its opening-weekend run.
Affleck has been busy lately. The actor will next play Batman in Warner Bros.’s Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice and is currently filming the super-villain ensemble follow-up Suicide Squad for the studio. Affleck is also set to direct, produce, and star in the Prohibition-era crime drama Live By Night in 2016.